A disaster in Lübeck Bay: an analysis of the tragic sinking of the Cap Arcona, 3 May 1945

Long, D., 2017. A disaster in Lübeck Bay: an analysis of the tragic sinking of the Cap Arcona, 3 May 1945. PhD, Nottingham Trent University.

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This dissertation aims to contextualise the history of the Cap Arcona, providing not only the first detailed reconstruction of the events which led to the incarceration of concentration camp prisoners on the ship, but also exploring British motives for its bombing. It argues, firstly, that the imprisonment of the former camp inmates on the Cap Arcona was not undertaken with a particular plan in mind, but in desperate reaction to a chain of circumstances: the rapid advance of the Allies, the hurried evacuation of Neuengamme as well as conflicts between Party, civilian and military offices created a problematic situation to which the ships at harbour in Lübeck Bay appeared to offer an interim solution. Secondly, it argues that the bombing of the ship by the British also resulted from a chain of circumstances, albeit a very different one. Concerned lest the Russians advance too far, the British pushed their forces north rapidly in the early part of 1945, hoping to get to the North Sea as fast as possible. In their rush, the British became increasingly careless and, in the case of the Cap Arcona, over-hastiness, poor communications and neglect of proper reconnaissance led to a disastrous error of judgement. By interweaving and chronologically juxtaposing the German and British sides of the story, the dissertation seeks to show how the war’s approaching end impacted on policies, thinking and practices which, while of course very different in the German and British cases, made possible the catastrophe in Lübeck Bay.

Item Type: Thesis
Creators: Long, D.
Date: October 2017
Rights: This work is the intellectual property of the author. You may copy up to 5% of this work for private study, or personal, non-commercial research. Any re-use of the information contained within this document should be fully referenced, quoting the author, title, university, degree level and pagination. Queries or requests for any other use, or if a more substantial copy is required, should be directed to the owner of the Intellectual Property Rights.
Divisions: Schools > School of Arts and Humanities
Record created by: Jill Tomkinson
Date Added: 15 Apr 2019 10:23
Last Modified: 15 Apr 2019 10:23
URI: https://irep.ntu.ac.uk/id/eprint/36252

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